All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban #BookReview

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Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.

What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.

Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?

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All Your Twisted Secrets is a slick YA mystery thriller that I decided to read when I learned Urban’s third novel Lying in the Deep (another novel with a locked room setting on a cruise ship), is going to be released in 2023. I’m forever trying to catch up with my tbr pile and I’m so happy I finally took the plunge with her debut. I had a good feeling about this novel and I was right, it made me a happy reader.

Amber finds herself locked up with 5 other teenagers in what she thinks is a dinner that could earn her a scholarship for the school of her dreams. Also present are her boyfriend Robbie, a boy she used to be friends with Diego, Priya who she has fallen out with over her friendship with Sasha, Sasha her newest friend and the one who holds Amber’s future in her hands, and Scott who she doesn’t know very well but who’s rumored to be the school’s drug dealer. In the room with them is a ticking time bomb and a syringe with poison so they have to decide… to kill or be killed. Tick tock!

In alternating chapters there’s on the one hand the panic setting in and heated discussions about who they are going to sacrifice for the group and why, and flashbacks to the past school year where the history between the different characters was explored. The present shows that there’s always a lot more to be discovered when you scratch that surface and so secrets and truths are revealed that consequently have an impact on the group dynamics.

Yes this novel reminded me in a way of One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus and they have every right to be named in the same sentence. Maybe I rated that other novel a little higher because I had no idea how that was going to end and I sort of knew here, even though I had some reservations because the threat seemed more than real.. and if they didn’t die from a bomb or poison, it would probably be from the heat in the room or from killing each other in some other way. Even though I knew some of it, All Your Twisted Secrets still had a few more twists up its sleeve that I couldn’t have predicted and that all made up for it. The secrets really intensified towards the end and the last one was definitely the worst. I couldn’t stand one of the characters after this reveal!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading All Your Twisted Secrets, it was an addictive novel that made me want to read one more chapter every time I thought of putting it down for the night. I found myself a new author and I can’t wait to read her next novel!

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

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The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord #BookReview

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When it all falls apart, who can you believe in?

Everything is going right for Lucy Hansson, until her mom’s cancer reappears. Just like that, Lucy breaks with all the constants in her life: her do-good boyfriend, her steady faith, even her longtime summer church camp job.

Instead, Lucy lands at a camp for kids who have been through tough times. As a counselor, Lucy is in over her head and longs to be with her parents across the lake. But that’s before she gets to know her coworkers, who are as loving and unafraid as she so desperately wants to be.

It’s not just new friends that Lucy discovers at camp—more than one old secret is revealed along the way. In fact, maybe there’s much more to her family and her faith than Lucy ever realized.

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I bought a copy of The Names They Gave Us in 2017. The cover sparkles so beautifully in the sunlight so that’s one of the reasons why I couldn’t resist, as well as for the glowing reviews I read at the time. But as the story goes so often, I lost sight of it until I recently held it in my hands again when I was looking for something emotional and charming to read.

After reading a few pages I did wonder if I would be able to fully enjoy this novel because I discovered right away that Lucy, the main character, is the daughter of a pastor and a very religious girl. She takes her faith pretty serious and at the start of the novel she’s struggling a bit with it after she finds out her mother is diagnosed with cancer for a second time. I don’t have anything against her faith but I was a bit afraid that I wouldn’t be able to build a connection with her. I needn’t have worried because Lucy was easy to sympathise with after all and the religious context doesn’t take over the story. As the novel progresses she becomes a lot more worldly and in the end her belief is integrated into a message of a more general nature.

Upon her mother’s request Lucy’s not going to church camp with her parents like she does every year but she’s filling in for someone at the Daybreak Camp on the other side of the lake. In Lucy’s opinion that is a ‘hippie camp’ but she can’t possibly say no to her mother when she’s just been diagnosed with cancer.

If there’s one thing I can say is that her stay at Daybreak Camp is a real eye-opener for this girl who lived such a sheltered life. This is a camp for troubled teens (where Lucy is responsible for a bunch of 8 and 9 year olds) but the camp leaders also come with their own baggage. This novel tackled several difficult topics, with loss and identity just to name some, but it never felt too heavy on me and there were lots of beautiful and fun moments too. It’s really not a sad book! The attraction to Henry was cute as well but I wouldn’t call this a romance novel, the focus fell more on the development of Lucy’s friendships and it definitely shows in the end how important they’ve all become for her.

‘What is a group of friends? A relief, a scaffolding, a safety net,…’

The camp and the people in it changed Lucy and she grew tons in this transformative novel. The Names They Gave Us refers to the labels the kids in Daybreak Camp get – even from Lucy before she arrived – but they are not just a group anymore, they are individuals and their personalities and voices touch Lucy and touched me as a reader as well. This novel holds a torch for more acceptance and understanding and delivers the message perfectly, without it being too much of a lesson but simply by showing some wonderful people and how they deal with things that life threw at them.

I enjoyed this novel more than I expected when I first started it so absolutely don’t let the religious background scare you off to read this one! I had a warm feeling when I finished reading it.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel at a local bookstore. This is my honest opinion.

You’ll Be The Death of Me by Karen McManus #BookReview

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Ivy, Mateo and Cal used to be close – best friends back in middle school.

Now all they have in common is a bad day. So for old time’s sake they skip school together – one last time.

But when the trio spot Brian ‘Boney’ Mahoney ditching class too, they follow him – right into a murder scene.

They all have a connection to the victim. And they’re ALL hiding something.

When their day of freedom turns deadly, it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out . . .

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2 / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

I absolutely loved the previous novel The Cousins so much that I pre-ordered You’ll Be The Death of Me and when it arrived I was even more excited to read it because it had beautiful deep purple page edges and a gleaming title on the cover (if you want to see check my Instagram page).

I truly love these multiple character novels. Not always but when Karen McManus writes them you will never ever hear me complaining. Has she written a novel yet with only one main character and one POV? Unless I’m mistaken I don’t think so but I don’t want her to change that, somehow she just always makes it work. The three main characters of this novel are all Carlton High students, a runner-up for class president (Ivy), her old high-school crush (Mateo), and the one with two dads but no friends (Cal). They are skipping school together because for various reasons they all need it that day and before you know it they stumble upon a dead body. They flee the scene when the police comes rolling in but when they hear one of them was spotted at the scene they have no choice but to find out who the killer is themselves.

With combined efforts they make good headway into finding out who killed their classmate. To succeed in finding the killer they do have to share the secrets they hold close at heart though. The first surprise is already the fact that Cal knows the person who owns that studio where their classmate was killed better than the others thought. What is it they say about still waters? Along the way the others reveal their own secrets too and it means that even more people will get involved in this tangled mess and might be very well be in danger. The only way out of this is to find out who the killer is before the killer finds them.

This is another solid Young Adult novel with likeable and interesting characters, and a real surprise ending. I knew who the culprit wasn’t but I actually didn’t find out the identity of the killer. I know I should have, but I didn’t and I can’t believe I missed it, but then maybe I was too entertained by the shenanigans of this wonderful trio.

I bought a paper copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

The Inheritance Games (Book #1 of 3) and The Hawthorne Legacy (Book #2 of 3) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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She came from nothing.
Avery has a plan: keep her head down, work hard for a better future.
Then an eccentric billionaire dies, leaving her almost his entire fortune. And no one, least of all Avery, knows why.

They had everything.
Now she must move into the mansion she’s inherited.
It’s filled with secrets and codes, and the old man’s surviving relatives – a family hell-bent on discovering why Avery got ‘their’ money.

Now there’s only one rule: winner takes all.
Soon she is caught in a deadly game that everyone in this strange family is playing.
But just how far will they go to keep their fortune?

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I don’t read a lot of Young Adult novels but when I do I seem to pick the right ones. The Inheritance Games is a brilliant start of a trilogy. Avery Grambs is a very clever girl, I knew that off the bat, but exactly how clever I had yet to fully discover. 

One day she is invited to the reading of a will of a man she never even heard of and it turns out that she stands to inherit his entire fortune. The only catch is that she has to live at Hawthorne Mansion for a year which wouldn’t be so bad if his other relatives, who didn’t inherit what they feel was coming to them, didn’t live there too. Not a great way to feel very welcome is it? Tobias Hawthorne also leaves each grandchild and Avery a letter, not that Avery’s is very telling but it is the start of her search to answer the question ‘why was she in his will when she didn’t even know him?’

The clues were well thought out and very cleverly constructed. Lots of the names in this novel for example have a special and deeper meaning attached to them, but the key is to know where to look then. I loved how Avery made the right connections and went to the right places to discover yet another clue that would bring her a small step closer to finding out why she was the chosen one. Avery isn’t the only one trying to figure it out though. The four grandsons of Tobias were ‘trained’ by Tobias as he challenged them on a regular basis so this game-mode is in their blood and of course they also want to find answers. The four boys who are working towards the same goal are laid-back ‘cowboy’ Nate, confident but closed off Gray, thrill-seeking charmer Nate, and nerdy cookie lover Xander Hawthorne. Allegiances are made quite soon with Avery but is it not too good to be true, is she a friend or a pawn?

While all this terrific sleuthing is progressing Avery can’t help to let her eye fall on two of the Hawthorne Boys. That’s right not one but two and this makes this novel extra special. There’s a lot of chemistry and the electric attraction whenever Avery finds herself alone (and in danger) with one of them made my heart do little jumps of joy. I know a lot of readers don’t enjoy love triangles but it was so good! It was killing me that she didn’t know who to choose. If you read the novel you want to make your own choice of course so this novel will create a division in teams! I doubt she’ll follow my choice though, I have a feeling it will be the other boy.

The novel has short chapters that are of no help if you don’t want to be reading all night. Otherwise said, it was terribly addictive and the way the novel ended, with another big question waiting to be solved, made me want to continue right away with The Hawthorne Legacy!

I’ve read a few novels in this particular genre (I listened to The Christmas Murder Game and before that I read Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts,…) but The Inheritance Games is by far the best novel in this clue-solving genre I read up until now

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The Inheritance Games ended with a bombshell, and now heiress Avery Grambs has to pick up the pieces and find the man who might hold the answers to all of her questions – including why Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters or grandsons.

As the mystery grows and the plot thickens, Grayson and Jameson, the enigmatic and magnetic Hawthorne grandsons, continue to pull Avery in different directions. And there are threats lurking around every corner, as adversaries emerge who will stop at nothing to see Avery out of the picture – by any means necessary.

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Could it be any better? Well yes it can! The Hawthorne Legacy is even better than the first and that one was already amazing. I’m so happy to hear that the series is going into production for tv! 

Avery Kylie Grambs is back and how! This one is all about exploring her past. Her mother – even though not a Hawthorne – also enjoyed playing games with her and one of their favourite games was ‘I have a secret’. Avery’s secrets as a young girl were not really worth to remember but her mother used to say she had an exciting secret about the day Avery was born… She never told her more than that but now Avery has a lead in her hands that could mean it’s the key to that secret.

The story is complex and filled with twists and turns. In the end we finally know why Avery was chosen and a lot more about her own past (and her mother’s) will have become clear. 

The chemistry with both boys was zinging in this novel again and while I was a bit cautious about one of them in the first novel because of some (game) player vibes, he seemed much more sincere and caring so the playing field was much more leveled out. If you ask me which team I’m on then all I can say is that I’m on the other team, so I am hoping there’s still some temptation in the third novel to keep it as interesting as before. 

You really need to read the series in order to be on board at the start of this novel but I’m sure you won’t regret that you need to read more than one of these novels. The last installment of the series, The Final Gambit is to be released in August 2022 and I can’t wait to dive in and see what new game she and the boys will embark on.

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #3) #BookReview

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Pip Fitz-Amobi is haunted by the way her last investigation ended. Soon she’ll be leaving for Cambridge University but then another case finds her . . . and this time it’s all about Pip.

Pip is used to online death threats, but there’s one that catches her eye, someone who keeps asking: who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? And it’s not just online. Pip has a stalker who knows where she lives. The police refuse to act and then Pip finds connections between her stalker and a local serial killer. The killer has been in prison for six years, but Pip suspects that the wrong man is behind bars. As the deadly game plays out, Pip realises that everything in Little Kilton is finally coming full circle. If Pip doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears . . .

The highly-anticipated finale to the A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series, the instant bestsellers that read like your favorite true crime podcast or show. By the end of this mystery series, you’ll never think of good girls the same way again…

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As Good As Dead is the third novel of a trilogy, with A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (my review) and Good Girl, Bad Blood (my review) preceding this one. I read the first two novels so of course I had to find out how everything was going to end for Pip Fitz-Amobi. I wouldn’t recommend reading this last novel as a standalone because there were a lot of references to both of the previous novels. That being said, I read the first one quite some time ago and it was not so easy to remember everything that had happened to all the characters of the town for me either so I struggled a little understanding why Pip was feeling so much animosity towards some of them.

I enjoyed the majority of the story of As Good As Dead, but it wasn’t love from the first page so it really me had to win me over. First, the second novel did end quite traumatically for Pip but I wasn’t a fan of Pip’s paranoid thoughts (PTSD if you want) and the manifestation of that fact with Pip imagining seeing blood on her hands quite a few times. It’s perhaps possible but I’m still not a fan. Secondly, the novel started slow although there’s an indisputable threat directed at Pip that is designed to keep the reader guessing early on and tension was building with each new message she discovers closer and closer to home. I enjoyed the clever way someone is trying to frighten her and yet I still felt that the plot took its time getting the story to where it should be, especially because there’s a major shifting of gears with one pivotal scene kicking the novel up a notch or ten and then never letting go again.

This pivotal scene and everything that happened after shows a Pip at the top of her game. I loved everything that came after that. I hadn’t seen her like this before, so brilliant, so controlling, so impressive. Her skills and all the knowledge she has acquired while working on her podcasts, she has to put them all into practice. I learned a few new things about death bodies too as she includes a report on how pathologists use rigor mortis, livor mortis and algor mortis to determine the time of someone’s death. I found all of this very interesting and I’m sure I won’t forget about it soon.

The second half of the novel was very addictive and I had to know if Pip was going to succeed. Sidekick Ravi was absent from the second novel but is back in As Good As Dead to take his place next to Pip and their connection, the support he gives her is wonderful. They are the bestest team!

The author promised a thrilling novel and she kept her promise, I loved the direction she took with this novel. I wasn’t expecting Pip to surprise me so much after her ‘weak’ start but she’s really coming through and this third novel is a wonderful conclusion to the series. It certainly ends on a high for me! And that last line.. I was sooo happy with it!

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole #BookReview

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When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation?

Rune’s heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.

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I bought A Thousand Boy Kisses – a young adult romance novel – years ago when I saw how many 5 star ratings it was receiving on Goodreads. The novel’s been published in 2016 but still has an average rating of 4.23 so that says a lot about how much love this novel is receiving.

I’m a fan of young romance because it’s sweet, innocent and perfect and I thought I’d never be able to get enough of it but the romance in the first part of the novel was sooo cheesy, I was really getting an overdose. It didn’t help that Poppy receives a jar from her grandmother to collect a thousand kisses in her entire life that make her heart burst, kisses that make her feel special, and Rune takes it upon himself to fill this whole jar by himself. I never thought I’d say this but the soaring hearts were there all the time and even I felt it was a bit too much. That said, it didn’t make me feel very happy that Rune and his Poppymin (My Poppy in Norvegian) were going to be separated because by then I certainly saw them as inseparable.

Their goodbyes were painful but what was at least as painful was the fact that all communications between them come to a stop, although they promised each other so much. I didn’t know the reasons behind Poppy’s decision to cut Rune out of her life but it was hard to understand when she loved him so much before.

Rune, the long haired Viking with blond hair and blue eyes that Poppy had fallen in love with returns but nothing is as it once was. Rune has changed so much from the sweet boy I came to know. They can’t pick up where they left off, and all I wanted was for them to reconnect in some way. My heart broke for them – for the love lost between them – but soon after it broke even a little more. I thought this was going to be a light, sweet teen romance but the emotions I felt ran deeper than expected. In the end I believed very strongly that Rune and Poppy were soul mates, and their love ‘as special as special can be’. I dare you to keep it dry reading A Thousand Boy Kisses.

The start was a little rocky but the ending was so beautiful and also full of love. It is definitely an emotional novel and it won’t leave you unfazed!

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas #BookReview

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There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

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star three and a half / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

I was in the mood to read a Young Adult book and I bought this novel ages ago when it was in sales. I picked it up thinking it would be quite similar to A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder with another teen sleuth at the center of a murder mystery. It definitely had the same easy style of writing and they are both visually attractive, but there are multiple plotlines in this novel and the investigation of what happened in the past is also quite different between both novels.

The master sleuth of service in The Cheerleaders is Monica. She’s on the dance team at school while she might have been on the cheerleading team like her big sister Jennifer if the team hadn’t been disbanded after 5 girls of the team died. I’m not sure it matters (it doesn’t) but in all honesty, cheerleading team (from what I gained from flashbacks) and dance team (from the routines Monica shares) did feel quite similar to me.

Monica is still trying to make sense of her sister’s death. First two friends of her sister died in a car accident, then two were murdered for an unknown reason by their neighbour, and then Jennifer killed herself, no note, no nothing. It’s been 5 years but Monica still has trouble coping. She has always been convinced 5 deaths in a matter of only a few months were just too much of a coincidence. When she stumbles by accident upon some anonymous letters accusing her stepfather of not having done his job properly, and her sister’s old cell phone, she uses this device to do some digging and retrace her sister’s life in the last days. I did find it a little bit of a plothole to strike up a conversation with someone anonymous via a telephone number and doing everything possible to find out this person’s identity through every means possible other than simply calling the number with any sort of random excuse. It’s the first thing I would do or at least think about but then I guess it wouldn’t be so much fun if she had taken this shortcut. It would also mean she’d have a name but possibly not know the connection to her sister so it did maybe work out better in the end anyway. It also meant that Monica needed some extra help and she finds an ally in Ginny, another girl on the dance team who she didn’t really have much contact with before they teamed up, and I’d even say I warmed to Ginny possibly even more than to Monica.

I loved that there was so much going on, Monica has her own problems in the present and then there are various strings in the past too but it eventually remains quite focused on the murders of Susan and Juliana. I got a sense of what was going on via Jennifer’s POV but Monica was also doing her best to shed some extra light onto the friendship between the cheerleaders.

The last few chapters were packed with revelations, I did not guess the conclusion of any of the clever mysteries. There was however an imbalance as the revelation of one mystery fell a little flat for me. It was sort of shoved between the others, thus much shorter and rather matter of fact, the other two felt much more shocking and I wish it had felt the same way.

All in all I did enjoy The Cheerleaders, it had decent plotting, wasn’t shy of adding some heavier themes into the story, and I definitely want to try another of Kara Thomas’s novels the future.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

Layla by Colleen Hoover #BookReview

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When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

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star three and a half

It’s been a while since I read a novel by one of my favorite romance authors. Even though I’m a big fan I don’t want to binge-read her novels. Her books need to be savored like a fine wine, I enjoy drinking in her words but want to pace myself and not just have too much at once. This novel is causing some division in my head though and it’s the first novel I read that is a difficult one to form an opinion of. I confess I had not read any reviews beforehand because I know this author and I loved every single book she has written but I was unprepared for the genre of novel this was. It seems she’s venturing further from the type of novels she wrote in the past, first dabbling into a different genre with Verity (a thriller, which I really liked because it also had a cool twist) and now this one.

Layla had an important and big plot twist which involves one of those tropes I really don’t like reading about so I felt a little deflated when I first found out. Had I known this then I don’t know if I had picked it up yet and would have chosen to read another one of hers first. Maybe it is a good thing though that I didn’t know because I did come around in the end so the final verdict is that I did enjoy it and chances are you’ll probably like it even more than me.

Without going into the plot, I can say that I felt conflicted at first that Leeds spent so much time with Willow, it somehow felt quite disloyal that he started to have these sort of secret conversations and encounters and as the story progressed that feeling only grew stronger. I was happy when he finally started to think about what he was doing because I reached that point much earlier so I didn’t really like Leeds and the fact that there are chapters where he has Layla TIED UP IN HER ROOM was even more reason for me to totally dislike him. I totally changed my mind in the end though and I totally understood his actions then so I did love that the author managed to change my feelings towards Willow, Layla and Leeds completely.

Apart from the trope that demanded some suspension of my belief, it is also not my favorite novel by the author because I couldn’t feel as deeply and as emotionally as I would have if it were a straightforward love story. One where I didn’t block the feeling of wanting a romance to blossom between two people who aren’t in a relationship as much as I did here from the start. The focus of my feelings was more on disliking certain characters instead of focusing on the love aspect. It’s all a bit unrealistic for me but she did manage to write something that will surprise the reader as it is something fresh and original.

I do have Heart Bones, another novel of hers waiting on my tbr pile so hopefully that will really give me what I want to satisfy my romantic side.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson (book #2 of 3) #BookReview

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Pip Fitz-Amobi is not a detective anymore.
With the help of Ravi Singh, she released a true-crime podcast about the murder case they solved together last year. The podcast has gone viral, yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her.
But she will have to break that promise when someone she knows goes missing. Jamie Reynolds has disappeared but the police won’t do anything about it. And if they won’t look for Jamie then Pip will, uncovering more of her town’s dark secrets along the way… and this time EVERYONE is listening.
But will she find him before it’s too late?

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Good Girl, Bad Blood was a highly anticipated novel to read and I bought it as soon as I finished the first novel of the trilogy, one I absolutely loved and which even made an appearance on my end of year list. Good Girl, Bad Blood is a great sequel to the this young adult mystery murder novel titled A Good Girls Guide to Murder which I reviewed in July last year, but of course the format (with transcripts, a map, in essence lots of visual embellishments) in which Jackson’s debut novel was written, was expected now so the surprising effect wasn’t really there this time. Not that I didn’t appreciate that she used the same techniques though, I love how attractive she made it look again!

In the previous novel Pip was looking for a murderer, believing the police came to the wrong conclusion, but this time she’s looking for a missing person, which meant her investigation is more about finding clues instead of suspects. She does go around interrogating several people again but I didn’t happen to feel the same thrill of sleuthing that I had in the first novel where I was more actively thinking along who the villain could be.

The author raised the bar so high with her first novel and while I heard some readers say this one’s even better, I’m not sure I feel the same way. Don’t get me wrong, Good Girl, Bad Blood is a ‘bloody good novel’ but the best one so far is undoubtedly still the first one for me (I have to admit, I often feel that way). There really is no shame holding this second place though because I still very much enjoyed seeing Pip in her element again, making lots of progress throughout the novel at a steady pace (she’s really a young Veronica Mars and she does it so well) and I can only think of two small things that I would have liked to have seen differently. The first is the fact that Ravi, Pip’s wingman in novel one is taking quite a backseat in this one, and I missed this voice of reason sometimes, not to mention his positive and warm personality, and the other thing is that this novel recaps literally everything that happened in the first novel, it goes on for several pages and while I enjoyed that it jogged my memory this way, I don’t think that readers who haven’t read the first novel will appreciate this because there is no point reading the first of the series after you read this one, so do take that into account if you’re interested in reading it.

Anyway to say I’m very excited to read book 3 of the series As Good As Dead is an understatement (I’ll have to wait till August/September at least though) because in this third story Pip has a stalker and there’s a man behind bars who is probably the wrong person and a real serial killer who’s running free. I’m trying to keep my expectations in check this time but it’s really hard with this series! So, if you’re used to reading detective stories but new to young adult, this is absolutely a great series to start with!

I bought a paperback copy of this book. This is my honest opinion.

🎹 A Thousand Perfect Notes 🎹 by C.G. Drew #BookReview

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Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

Thrilling and powerfully written, this is an explosive debut for YA readers which tackles the dark topic of domestic abuse in an ultimately hopeful tale.

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Hands down… five stars! Six if I could even.. Once in a blue moon there’s this one outstanding book, this one book that reminds you what a five star rating is for. A Thousand Perfect Notes is that one book. It feels like forever that I read something so intense and became so emotional. If you’re into the works of Colleen Hoover, you simply have to read this novel. It could even be a CoHo novel but no I checked, it really is an original C.G. Drews novel. I knew C.G. Drews before she became an author and was a bookblogger so I damn well knew she could write but I’m still really blown away with what she wrote here. Girl, I had no idea you would be this amazing!

A Thousand Perfect Notes had my heart in its grip from the start. It is normal that parents wish for their kids to do well in life but some parents can’t handle their own failures, and some parents want their kids to continue what they started and do as well or no, do even better. Beck’s mother was a famous pianist – until she couldn’t play anymore – and she wants Beck to step into her footsteps, to live up to the Kervinich name and be the best pianist. She doesn’t use positive motivation to achieve this but takes her frustrations out on him. She prefers to throw insults at him in German, but generally just lashes out in any way she sees fit to get what she wants. It was at times hard to read, especially because Beck and his sister Joey were at the mercy of their mother without anyone watching out for them. I don’t know if this is really realistic – in the novel Joey’s preschool teachers never ask any questions about their home situation but it was so obvious in my mind and I didn’t find it normal that they discuss Joey’s problems with a 15 year-old – I can only hope that in real life children in the same position are noticed and they are taken care of.

Beck is a wonderful and kind character, taking everything on the chin that is thrown at him. He is fiercely protective of his 5 year old baby sister Joey but his world only consists of music, from the minute he wakes to the moment he goes to sleep. My heart went out to him and my eyes welled up several times because of the beautiful lines and the heartfelt thoughts. Not only for Beck but also for August, the girl he needs to write an essay with. August is earth and summer, she is smiles and rainbows. August is noticing Beck, she wants to be his friend, even if he doesn’t want to and tries his best to keep her at a distance. Can he let anyone in? What will his future hold and can he put a stop to his situation? There are more twists here than in the thriller I’m currently listening to!

Have you read the blurb? Then you get an idea what you’re signing up for. Yes this novel is hard and tough and heartbreaking but god, I want to reread it already. So please don’t be scared to read it, it’s so worth it! I probably don’t even need to tell you that there’s a good chance you’ll see this on on my end of year list, maybe the only real news is that I already bought C.G. Drews second novel, The Boy Who Steals Houses.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel and this is my honest opinion.